Published November 17, 2014
The award from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) recognizes select Designated Institutional Officials for outstanding leadership, management, innovation and improvement of residency and fellowship programs.
For more than two decades, Berger has overseen 63 University at Buffalo-sponsored medical specialty training programs. The vast majority — 60 UB programs with 756 residents — are accredited by the ACGME.
“Her initiatives have changed the way we approach medical education at this university and have national ramifications. Her leadership style values inclusion and collaboration and the importance of the individual to the success of the program.”
Berger has initiated, led or helped secure funding for numerous activities that demonstrate a strong commitment to excellence, including:
Colleen Nugent, MD, now a fellow in the pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition fellowship program, credits Berger with “unwavering support” throughout her residency.
“Dr. Berger has built and nurtured an environment at UB in which a resident can grow and learn,” she says.
Berger was supportive of the establishment of Schwartz Center Rounds at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, says Nugent, who played a key role in this initiative during her residency. The rounds engage care providers from various disciplines in reflecting on social and emotional aspects of their roles.
Berger also assisted the UB Residents’ Committee in creating the Resilience and Residency program, which aims to improve self-care among residents. “This innovative program fostered not only mindfulness among co-residents, but helped create interdepartmental collegiality,” Nugent notes.
Gregory Cherr, MD, associate professor of surgery, and director of the general surgery residency program, praises Berger’s “vision and leadership to create a top-notch faculty development program” leading to the UB/RCP Educator credential.
A graduate of — and now a faculty member in — the program, Cherr says the training has led to “improved teaching skills, educational innovation and scholarly activity” within the medical school.
He also credits the UB/RCP program with spurring new educational opportunities for residents and students.
For example, the psychiatry department now offers a medical educator track through which residents prepare for academic careers by creating innovative educational experiences for less-experienced trainees.
On a broader scale, Berger has worked to enhance graduate-level medical training and build mutually beneficial partnerships with training hospitals.
She was appointed by the governor and served various leadership roles on the New York State Council on Graduate Medical Education for 10 years. Council members promote high quality residency and training programs and advise state officials on related policies.
Berger also has collaborated with Buffalo-area hospital leaders on various shared interests, such as resident orientation and quality improvement and safety activities.
In 2014, Berger received the Dean’s Award for extraordinary service to the medical school.
She is now leading a new, five-year graduate medical education strategic planning initiative.
In addition, Berger is an associate professor of family medicine and a geriatric medicine specialist.
Berger will receive her award Feb. 27 during the 2015 ACGME Annual Educational Conference in San Diego, Calif.
The Chicago-based council accredits about 9,500 residency and fellowship programs in 140 medical specialties and subspecialties and 700 sponsor institutions in the United States.